Biosimilar News Tops Industry Headlines

Biosimilar News Tops Industry Headlines

MedImpact’s Annual Trend Report Spotlights Oncology


Oncology received more new FDA approvals in 2017 than any other therapeutic class — and this trend will likely continue through 2018 and beyond. $150 Billion - Cancer medicine spending projected to exceed by 2020

The first two biosimilars for oncology agents and the first two CAR-T cell gene therapy treatments for blood cancers gained FDA approval in 2017.

As of late July, 11 biosimilars have received approval and five have an oncology indication. However, only five biosimiliars are commercially available, including the recent approval of Fulphila (pegfilgrastim-jmdb) as the first biosimilar to help reduce infection risk in patients with non-bone marrow cancer receiving intensive chemotherapy.

While Mvasi (bevacizumab-awwb), the first biosimiliar treatment for multiple cancers, and Ogivri (trastuzumab-dkst), the first biosimilar to treat breast or stomach cancer, both received FDA approval in 2017, they remain tied up in litigation.

FDA’s Action Plan Encourages Biosimilar Development

In an effort to streamline the approval and market entry of biosimiliars, the FDA released its Biosimilar Action Plan on July 18. The plan aims to promote competition and affordability across the U.S. market for biologics and biosimilar products to help increase treatment access and reduce costs for patients and the nation’s healthcare system alike.

According to the FDA and market analysts, competition in the biologic space could launch a new era in the treatment of cancer, potentially increasing access to blockbuster biologics. 

MedImpact Spotlights Oncology

Our Annual Trend Report reported that oncology drugs accounted for 30% of the 46 new drugs the FDA approved in 2017. MedImpact’s trend findings also revealed oncology had the second highest therapy cost increase (10.5%) and the fourth highest total trend (10.8%) last year.

Top Therapeutic Classes

Our Annual Trend Report also provided insights into the highest-cost agents in the oncology class:

  • Revlimid, an oral blood cancer drug, continues to be the top drug spend in oncology for all lines of business. In fact, it topped specialty brand spend in Medicare, accounting for 25.9% of that total trend. There will not be competition or generic introduction for Revlimid for years.
  • Ibrance, a breast cancer treatment, and Imbruvica, a widely utilized leukemia treatment, remained high in spend for branded oncology agents despite competition from new drugs approved in 2017.

For deeper insight on cancer trends and high-cost oncology agents across MedImpact’s Commercial, Medicare and Medicaid lines of business, download our Annual Trend Report.

Check MedConnect® regularly for highlights from our Annual Trend Report to see how our drug data and annual trend insights compare with the latest drug trend and industry news.

1National Institutes of Health; IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics:

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